Wine Bar Crush

I could make up all sorts of cheeky excuses about why I haven’t been in the blogosphere lately, but the truth is, the only thing I want to do this days is snuggle up with a nice glass of Sauvignon. Sure, my family was here for 3 weeks, I’ve had some auditions, some “work”, some stomach flu… but at the dawn of the new year, I found myself wanting to spend *less* time around my computer. Blasphemous, I know. But really, my wine obsession is at new heights. Ok. I’ve always appreciated it, but I also used to feel terribly ashamed that for whatever inexplicable reason, I prefer white wine to red. I thought this made me seem, well, uncultured or something. But in 2011, I truly embraced my love of dry whites, and I’m all the happier for it.

bonite with radishes from Au Passage

This revelation in my alcohol habits has been liberating in many ways–it is far easier to have a bottle of Pouilly Fumé sitting around than all of the ingredients for a perfect mint julep. I mean, I can’t make fresh mint syrup every week. It is also, as Weight Watchers informs me, more “diet” friendly. Yes, readers, this kid is still doing that diet thing. With the help of white wine, lean cuts of french meat, and dark chocolate, I’ve lost 35 pounds this fall, and don’t plan on stopping until I reach a healthy weight range for my height. See ! Being a foodie and losing weight don’t have to be mutually exclusive !

tête de moine at L’entrée des Artistes

This revelation is also a good one because this year in Paris seems to be the year of the kickass wine bar. I wrote about Le Verre Volé last spring, and it’s been open awhile, but a couple other lovelies have since bounded onto the scene, and I must say, I have quite a few crushes.

chicharrito from L’Entrée des Artistes

I visited L’Entrée des Artistes in search of cocktails. My all-knowing cocktail buddy Forest at 52martinis had mentioned it, and seeing as it is only about 15 minutes away from home, I couldn’t resist a try. The cocktails are excellent, the wine list as well, and the small plates hit the spot for a small snacky-drinky type dinner. The place is small, warm, convivial, and if anything, it can be hard to snag a seat. The food inspires no great culinary revelations, but sometimes, all you want is a good cocktail or glass of wine and a plate of paté with warm onion confit.

fig/chocolate/hazelnut dessert from Au Passage

Not far away from L’Entrée is Au Passage, another bar with a pedigree. I went at lunch time, but wish I could find the time to go back in the evening, as it seems like a place you could while away hours in over a couple of bottles, and another menu of great small plates. I wrote a bit more about my visit to Au Passage here. But what I really applaud at this restaurant is the inexpensive, yet terribly interesting lunch menu. The choices are few, but one doesn’t need that much of a choice when everything is so fresh and different.

the now-infamous fried chicken from Verjus

And as if any of these places didn’t have enough ink already, my last crush is the now-seemingly-incontournable Verjus wine bar. There is nothing not to like about this place. Small and homey in a ground floor cave voutée, the welcome is friendly, and things only get better from there. The small place are definitely not inexpensive, but every morsel is tasty, and can easily comprise a meal. I also find the wine list short, succint, and perfectly to my tastes, so I obviously have nothing to complain about.

cheese service at Verjus

Both evenings I’ve spent in Verjus so far have been fun and memorable ones–one with a somewhat rowdy group of friends, and one more quiet with a surprise visitor from out of town. I would be remiss not to mention the lovely presence behind the bar, which is served by one of the co-owners, Laura. The first night I popped in (yes, in Caroline’s world, staying for 4 hours and drinking 2 bottles of wine between 2 people is ‘popping in’), I was amazed at her ability to make everyone feel one hundred percent at home. Really, I started to think I lived there. That may have been the wine though.

shoestring fries at Verjus

Anyway, I’ve read some rumors that the Paris brasserie scene is sadly dying. I’m not really sure what this means. In fact, I’ve never entirely been sure what separated brasseries from bistrots from restos from cafés from bars. Ignorant me seems to think they are all just variations on a theme, but maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that in public. In any case, the wine bar scene around town seems to be on the up, and this kid couldn’t be happier.

L’Entrée des Artistes
8 Rue Crussol, Paris 75011

Au Passage
1 Passage Saint Sébastien, Paris 75011

47 Rue Montpensier, Paris 75001


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